‘Buy-out’ bid to save Garstang Community Centre

Garstang Community/Business Centre
Garstang Community/Business Centre

Garstang Community Centre and car park could be saved after the town council decided it will consider a bid for the site.

After being listed as community assets earlier this month, the town council now has six weeks to inform Wyre Council if it wants to be considered a serious bidder for the site.

Garstang residents protest against the potential development of the Community centre and its car park.''Action Garstang

Garstang residents protest against the potential development of the Community centre and its car park.''Action Garstang

The site had been under threat after being put up for sale by Wyre Council, and objections have been building for several months over Blackpool developer Keyworker Homes’ proposal to build 34 retirement apartments and retail units on the High Street plot.

Garstang Town Council’s decision means once Wyre Council is informed, it will trigger a six-month window in which the town council must raise funds to buy the centre and its riverside car park.

This period will end on July 6 and, although Keyworker Homes were believed to be offering upwards of £1m for the site, Wyre Council says it will consider less due to the bid coming from a local group.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “There isn’t a specific figure we would sell the community centre and car park for. It is up to any interested parties to seek independent advice and put forward a bid. It will then be considered by the council.”

There isn’t a specific figure we would sell the community centre and car park for. It is up to any interested parties to seek independent advice and put forward a bid

Wyre Council

Garstang town councillor, Peter Ryder said the plans are in their infancy but says it is a positive step by the council.He said: “We may have to form a coalition with other community groups to raise the funds for the bid but none of that has been discussed yet. The decision to bid for the site was a unanimous one but I wouldn’t like to speculate as as to how much we will need to raise.” The six-month period, known as a ‘full moratorium’ will be triggered when the town council formally inform Wyre Council of their intention to buy the site.

This period, however, does not stop any potential developers applying for planning permission for the site and Keyworker Homes, for example, could have planning permission approved in this time. If the town council raised enough funds to buy the site then Wyre Council would not be able to consider any other plans but if it did not, other methods of selling the site would be looked at.

Wyre Council insists it will not consider any plans which see a vast reduction in car parking spaces. Coun Alan Vincent, cabinet member with responsibility for asset management at Wyre Council, said: “We want to protect as much car parking on the High Street car park as we possibly can, so the residents and businesses of Garstang can benefit from having public access to it. The potential developers are aware of that and we await revised proposals, incorporating a loss of as few parking spaces as possible.”

Keyworker decline to comment.

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